Smart Cookies: Stand for More Event Preview!

Watch our “I AM A GIRL” video!

Resilience, ambition, and activism: those three essential qualities link all Girl Scouts, volunteers, and members, and are what drive us to continue championing the power of the girl. Girl Scouts, this year especially, have shown how vital it is to stand up and act for the good of the nation and the community.

On Sept. 24, we invite all to celebrate this and much more at our first ever premiere virtual fundraising event, Smart Cookies: Stand for More, featuring stories of the unstoppable drive, compassion, and flexibility of our girl and adult members.

We are calling on you and everyone in our community to stand behind our girls as they stand up for themselves, others, and their communities through their continued service and civic engagement.

Continue reading to learn about the program for the evening!

What to Expect

At Smart Cookies, you will hear from some of our very special 2020 Tribute to Achievement honorees in conversation with Girl Scouts from our council in “Smart Cookies Conversations.”

We will feature Kathy Scherer, Managing Partner of Business Tax Services at Deloitte, who is also this year’s Girl Scout’s Own honoree; Lei Zhang Schlitz, Executive Vice President of Automotive OEM at Illinois Tool Works Inc., our Luminary honoree; and Sandra Cordova Micek, CEO of WTTW and recipient of the Community Partnership Award.

Additionally, you’ll hear from many of our council’s own trailblazing Girl Scouts and hear from them what it truly means to Stand for More and live the Girl Scout Promise, as well as how best to fulfill their needs and wishes for Girl Scouting in the next year and beyond.

You will also have many opportunities to show your support by donating to Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) throughout the evening or by participating in our Silent Auction (items to be previewed soon!).

Starting at $35, don’t forget to purchase a Smart Cookies Enhancement Package which includes a Stand for More Tote Bag, Patch, two boxes of cookies, a GCNWI face mask, and more! Our Enhancement Packages are nearly sold out– make sure to order yours before Sept. 13!

Join Us!

Admission is free and open to all!

Register and donate here.

Join These Upcoming September Programs!

Registration for October programs will open on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at noon but we have a lot planned for girls of all ages to gear up for the Girl Scout year! The summer isn’t quite over yet: check out our program calendar below and register quickly to snag your spot!

Program & RegistrationRegistration ClosesDate & Time
Silver Award Training Webinar for CadettesSept. 7Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m.
Girl Scouts Love State Parks Weekend for All AgesSept. 6 and Sept. 7Saturday, Sept. 12 – Sunday, Sept. 13
STEM Career Exploration Webinar for BrowniesSept. 7Monday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.
Bronze Award Training Webinar for JuniorsSept. 14Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m.
STEM Career Exploration Webinar for JuniorsSept. 14Monday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m.
Coding Basics with TechGirlz Webinar for CadettesSept. 14Monday, Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.
Inventor Badge Starter Webinar for BrowniesSept. 17Thursday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.
Traveler Badge Starter Webinar for Seniors & AmbassadorsSept. 20Friday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.
Observe the Moon Night Zoom Party for All AgesSept. 19Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m.
Cadette Book Club MeetingSept. 24Sunday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.
STEM Career Exploration Webinar for CadettesSept. 21Monday, Sept. 28 at 4 p.m.
Making Games Badge Starter Webinar for BrowniesSept. 27Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m.

We can’t wait to see you! Learn more about what’s happening this Fall with Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) on our blog.

Remember registration for October programs opens on Sept. 15 at noon: save the date!

Fall Product Program is Coming!

Our Fall Product Program is about to start! From Oct. 1 to 21, don’t miss out on your chance to participate and earn awesome rewards AND a personalized patch with YOUR name and avatar on it!

Watch your inbox for more information to be released soon!

Continue Your Girl Scout Journey!

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Even though our world has changed plenty in the last six months, you can still count on Girl Scouts and GCNWI to provide reliable, impactful, and fun experiences for girls across the council.

Renew your membership today and continue your Girl Scout journey with us!

2020 Gold Award Spotlight: Part 2!

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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The mark of the truly remarkable, the Gold Award is earned by Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in their neighborhoods, nations, and the world.

We continue honoring the Gold Award Class of 2020 from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI), and this week, we’ll be learning all about the girls whose Gold Awards centered on the arts and interpersonal relationships. Read on to meet these impressive young women!

Mural for Our Lady of the Sioux Prayer Circle

In partnership with the Parish of Our Lady of the Sioux, located in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, Gold Award Girl Scout Clara designed and created a mural for their parish grounds. Working with the parishioners, Clara incorporated Native American imagery and live flowers in her work, all in the aims of creating a beautiful symbol of worship for the people of the parish.

The CURE

Gold Award Girl Scout Elizabeth’s initiative started as a pro-kindness presentation to students at her school and continues as an established school club. For her project, which was awarded a Power of the Children award by the Indianapolis Children’s Museum in 2017, Elizabeth spoke to her classmates, developed a website, and installed a sign in her school. Her project is sure to have an impact on countless students for years to come!

A Lesson in Japanese American History

Gold Award Girl Scout Elyse earned her award by developing a history lesson plan designed to educate high school students about the process, development, and effects of mass hysteria in the United States before, during, and after the Second World War. Elyse’s curriculum focused on the Japanese American experience, and how a single group of people was discriminated against based on fear.

Adding Dazzle to the Special Stars

Gold Award Girl Scout Rebecca saw the need to add some dazzle to the special needs program at the local dance studio Special Stars—so she acted. Rebecca’s efforts to expand their curriculum culminated in brand-new lesson plans for differently-abled dancers, and she was able to teach 8 students in her class on a regular basis.

Standby Project Playhouse

Rebekah, inspired by her own experience as an actor, earned her Gold Award by developing an enriching curriculum for students at Children’s Playhouse. She knew that show directors always have their hands full and that older kids had trouble staying engaged in the program. To solve this challenge, Rebekah created a new curriculum for older students, which is now being used in a new class!

Our War Against Mental Illness

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Gold Award Girl Scout Monica believes “it only takes a few kind words to have an everlasting impact on someone’s self-esteem.” To spread this message to her community, she engaged them in activities, encouraging others to spread kindness and positivity. Together, Monica and her community painted kindness rocks and positive phrases in her high school’s bathroom.

Puppet Show for Church

For Girl Scout Hailey, getting involved with her local parish in the form of theater was the focus of her Gold Award. Hailey built a puppet theater, wrote scripts coordinated to the day’s Sunday school lessons, and she drew quite a crowd for the final puppet show! Hailey said the best part was interacting with the kids in her parish.

Art for Kids

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“As someone who has benefited greatly from a strong arts education,” Gold Award Girl Scout Audrey says, “[I] sought to address the issue of fine arts education funding by providing supplies for local Chicago Public Schools.” In partnership with the Schools Count Corporation and other community organizations, Audrey founded Art for Kids, a multi-district wide annual art supply drive, collecting an estimated $5,000 worth of supplies to benefit 14 different schools in Chicago.

Music Therapy Awareness

Gold Award Girl Scout Bailey saw the need to raise awareness about the benefits of music therapy as a form of treatment for people with disabilities, so in response, she created over 200 pamphlets and a YouTube video to do just that. In preparation, she was guided by a professional music therapist and sat in during several of his classes. Every pamphlet of hers was picked up by the schools, libraries, and offices in which she left them.

Middle School Band Promotional Video

Girl Scout Bria’s Gold Award had two major components: the making of a promotional video to encourage elementary students in her area to join the Brooks Middle School band, and leading students and scouts in the refurbishing of the band’s display case. The video continues to be shown in elementary schools to inform students on what brand has to offer, and her efforts have overall improved the marketing of the band to the community!

Project Dandelion

Gold Award Girl Scout Therese knows how difficult it can be to find information about sexual violence on college campuses, and she feels that “everyone needs to feel safe at the school they choose to spend years attending.” Her vision culminated in the first resource of it’s kind, a database organizing information, resources, and statistics concerning sexual violence at colleges and universities in Illinois. Currently, the project encompasses every college in Illinois and is being continued in the future by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The Mark of the Truly Remarkable

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The Gold Award is the standout achievement of girls who develop meaningful, sustainable solutions to challenges in their communities and the world. These girls each have completed anything but a one-time service project, but have changed the world in tangible and lasting ways.

We extend our sincerest congratulations to these girls and all Gold Award Girl Scouts this year!

Want to share pictures of your project with us? Post on social media and use the #GCNWIGoldAward! You can also download these images to share your Girl Scout Gold Award pride.

Look out for next week’s 2020 Gold Award Spotlight!

Member Monday: The Power of the Girl!

In times of uncertainty, girls need systems of support to remind them that they are, indeed, powerful! Girl Scout Senior Nooriyah knows this well: she spoke about the necessity of caring Girl Scout leaders who give girls the platform they need to succeed. To lead and prepare young women for the future, she says, “We have to get back to Girl Scouts.”

Watch the video above to hear everything Nooriyah has to say about the importance of leaders to girls!

This Member Monday, we are reminding everyone of how incredible and inspiring our girls and the people who support them are. Read on to learn about some amazing, game-changing Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI).

Girl Scouts Care!

Thirteen-year-old Kasey Brislane is credited with helping save her former neighbor, Susi Schubert who slipped on ice and became trapped underneath a parked car this past winter. Brislane has hypersensitive hearing as a symptom of autism and was the only one who heard Schubert's cries for help on a freezing night in January.
Girl Scout Kasey with neighbor Susi (Brian OMahoney / Pioneer Press)

It is in the Girl Scout DNA to be ready for anything and always think of others first: Girl Scout Kasey, from Harwood Heights, IL, is a fantastic example. It was Kasey’s hypersensitive hearing, trust in her gut instinct, and Girl Scout know-how that allowed her to save the life of her neighbor Susi last January, and for her incredible act of compassion, Kasey has earned the Girl Scout Medal of Honor, an award presented to a Girl Scout who exemplified presence of mind and true Girl Scout spirit in an emergency.

We sincerely congratulate Kasey for earning this prestigious award. Read more about Kasey’s story in the Chicago Tribune.

This week, we also got a special shout-out from Loretto Hospital in Chicago, IL, for a recent Gift of Caring donation of 36 cases of Girl Scout cookies for their staff members. We hope the cookies brought some smiles to the faces of those very essential workers!

Girl Scouts Just Wanna Have Fun!

Girl Scout Madeline with her mom’s Brownie sash

This certainly has been an uncertain and challenging time for all of us, but Girl Scouts have weathered the storm quite impressively by making their own fun, even girls who just joined us.

Girl Scout Daisy Madeline, after not being able to meet in person for her first year of Girl Scouting, was thrilled to participate in virtual meetings, and has grown to love the virtual experience! Even if things look different, Madeline is finding joy everywhere she looks, and it’s a good thing we have a lot planned this year!

Read our blog to learn all about what’s going on at Girl Scouts GCNWI this Fall.

Speaking of finding joy, we’re still loving the submissions girls and families sent from our Summer Camp Revamp Program! For Movie Magic Week, Girl Scouts Lilia, Dahlia, Cora, and Elsa got together to make their own movie about haunted dolls. Check out their extra spooky and silly movie above! Thanks for sharing, girls!

Girl Scouts also continue to bridge up levels, and we’d like to congratulate all Girl Scouts who moved up this year, including:

Girl Scout Junior Madeline! Check out her at-home bridge—she’s so proud of it she still hasn’t taken it down!

Girl Scout Olivia, also now a Junior! She participated in a masked-up bridging ceremony with her leaders, a great way to stay safe and celebrate!

And to Girl Scout Brownie Ellie, who rocked an awesome outfit AND bridged on horseback! Scroll through the images to see pictures of her mom at her pinning ceremony: we love seeing generations of Girl Scouts!

Last Chance to Renew and Win!

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Renew by tomorrow to automatically receive a free Zoom account and $20 eGift card for the Girl Scouts GCNWI online shop for the new membership year!

Learn more and renew on our website!

Girls, renew your membership today!

Share your Story!

Now that in-person, masked-up meetings are starting up, what do you plan to do with your troop? Continued service opportunities to assist your community? Fun at-home virtual programming? Let us know! Your stories are inspiring and we want the whole council to know!

Share with us on social media (we’re @GirlScoutsGCNWI on all platforms), on Facebook, or share your story on our website

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines for Girls and Volunteers

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Girl Scouts has never been just about the badges. Or just the troop meetings. It’s always been about the girls. That’s why we are shifting our lens in the year ahead to see things through their eyes.

Girls need Girl Scouts. They need to feel connected, valued, empowered, challenged, and heard. That is what will get us through the coming months. While we certainly do not have a crystal ball, we do have each other. We urge you to say “yes” to renewing for the 2020-21 membership year so we can strive to ensure that no girl feels left out or alone.

Here’s what we are recommending as a reasonable approach to honor our commitment to girls:  

  • Meet in small groups outside (using the guidelines below) into the fall. Then shift into virtual space during the colder months.  
  • Right-size everyone’s expectations. Use your time together to connect, socialize and do something fun together. Laugh, explore something new.  
  • Complement your scaled-back troop meetings by directing girls and families to sign up for any of the council-led virtual programs and outdoor opportunities. Read about upcoming fall programs on our blog!
  • Ask recently graduated Girl Scout alums and experienced volunteers to be guest moderators. Remember, if the girls are laughing and talking, the experience is a success in their eyes!  
  • Not sure how to lead a virtual troop meeting? We can help! Read our blog for advice from a troop leader.
  • Use the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). More resources have been added to make delivering a virtual badge-earning experience easier. Spend less time planning. 
  • Focus on a year of giving service to others. Plan to use your troop cookie proceeds to fund acts of kindness that benefit those who need food, books, pet supplies, notes of encouragement, and so much more.
  • Be creative, flexible, kind, relaxed, and innovative.   

Revised Guidelines for Small Outdoor Gatherings and Troop Meetings 

  • In-person gathering is entirely voluntary. Masks MUST be worn. 
  • UPDATED: Small groups of 15 or less girls plus 2 unrelated adults (following girl-to-adult ratios in Volunteer Essentials) may gather, providing that all safety precautions are observed, including the mandatory wearing of masks. 
  • Those who elect to attend an in-person meeting must review and sign our statement to be retained by the troop leader. Download the agreement »  
  • Guidelines will apply to all GSGCNWI members, regardless of state residency. 
  • Gatherings may take place only in the outdoors with space for social distancing. We encourage troops to meet outdoors into the fall, and to consider outdoor hikes and other adventures outdoors even in the winter months. 
  • Please review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advisory for adults 65 years of age and older and those with underlying medical conditions before voluntarily deciding to participate in any in-person gathering. 

Tips for In-Person Meetings 

Troop leader Missie, of Troop 60775 from Flossmoor, IL, shared some very helpful advice for anyone considering in-person meetings in the future: 

  • Only meet in outdoor spaces, and focus on activities that take girls outside, like geocaching or hiking. She says these girls are dedicated— as long as there’s no lightning and thunder, they’ll show up! 
  • Space out the girls on sit-upons, and make sure everyone wears a mask and has hand sanitizer handy. 
  • Consider providing the girls with activity kits to make sure no supplies are shared between them. 
  • Stay updated with your local government’s guidance, check the CDC for pertinent information, and always reiterate safety. 
  • If you or the girls aren’t ready to meet, there is nothing wrong with that! Keep reaching out to the girls so they know you are present and available. Gauge their comfort levels! 

Thanks to Missie and the girls for sharing their story with us!  

Despite the restrictions, Girl Scouts are still having fun, staying connected, and making memories, online and in-person. Now that you can meet in-person with up to 17 people, here are 5 ideas for outdoor activities

  • Masking up and exploring natural areas around you is a perfect way to get moving and get some fresh air with the girls! 
  • Host a socially distanced-movie night by setting up a projector, and have girls bring their own pillows and blankets to sit on and spread out! 
  • Interested in giving back to the community? Consider hosting a mask or food bank drive to provide resources to those who need it! 
  • Once the weather gets colder, the outdoor fun doesn’t have to stop! Winter hikes and other snowy activities are a great plan for girls interested in adventuring through the colder months. 
  • Sidewalk painting, geocaching, bird-watching, badge activities: the list goes on! As long as girls wear masks and distance at least six feet apart, go ahead and get creative with your meetings! 

Now that in-person meetings are starting up, what do you plan to do with your troop? Let us know! Share with us on social media (we’re @GirlScoutsGCNWI on all platforms), on Facebook, or share your story on our website

For more information and guidance, read the complete updated guidelines for in-person troop meetings, cookie booths, and retail shops. 

Stay Safe! 

Should any conditions change, these sets of guidelines will be adjusted to reflect new information or changes noted by federal or state health agencies. All current guidelines will be posted and updated as necessary on our website, and alerts will be sent to member families via email. 

Don’t forget to Renew!

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When 90% of the girls in your troop renew by August 31 your troop will automatically receive a free Zoom account and a $20 eGift card for the Girl Scouts GCNWI online shop when the new membership year begins in October!

Learn more and renew on our website!

Girls, renew your membership today!

2020 Gold Award Spotlight: Part 1!

The Gold Award, the highest award a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout can earn, is no easy feat. As any Gold Award Girl Scout knows, the project requires hours upon hours of time, plenty of resources and community outreach, and a lot of heart.

Now, after months of thinking up big ideas, planning them out, and following through, it is time to celebrate the amazing achievements of our Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) Gold Award Class of 2020!

This week, we are featuring girls whose projects focused on animal rights, public safety, and sports. Read on to learn all about these impressive girls and their projects.

Power to the Bees

Mason Bees, like the other 4,000 bee species native to North America, are small but mighty creatures that are critically endangered. Girl Scout Shannon from Barlett, IL, for her Gold Award, decided to bring more awareness to the movement toward saving bees from extinction by bringing “Power to the Bees.”

She created a home for bees at the Willowbrook Wildlife Center, and has plans to build another with a display board inside their main building with more information on Mason Bees.

Cage Free Cat Room

In partnership with the People’s Animal Welfare Society of Tinley Park, Gold Award Girl Scout Alicia from Wheaton, IL, created a cage-free cat room. “A cage-free cat room creates a comfortable environment for the cats,” Alicia explained, “and leads to a greater chance of being adopted.”

She built and installed five shelves and cubbies for the kitties to climb on and sleep in, and her project helped those cats and many more find forever homes!

Pantry for Pets

Girl Scout Eileen saw the need for pet supplies in her community of Park Ridge, IL, and in response, crafted her Gold Award plan to fill that gap.

For “Pantry for Pets,” Eileen collected over 500 donations from different collection sites and donated them to a food pantry, eventually serving over 100 people! Eileen then donated the rest of the supplies to a few different animal shelters.

Picture Perfect Adoption

Combining her passion for photography and her love for animals, Girl Scout Marley teamed up with the Naperville Area Humane Society. Marley photographed over 130 pets over a seven-month span, edited the photos, created profile sheets, and shared those photos on social media to help the pups and cats get adopted in loving homes!

She STILL goes every week and takes pictures of the pets, and all 5 “veteran” dogs that had been at the shelter for a year or more were adopted!

Redecorating the Meeting Room!

Girl Scout Sophia from Lockport, IL, in hopes of getting more dogs adopted from the All Herding Breed Dog Rescue, decided to dedicate her Gold Award to refurbishing their meeting room.

She got to work, repainting the walls with a mural of a dog park and adding vinyl flooring, making the room cleaner and more welcoming, a great way to support the shelter and spread awareness for rescue and herding dogs.

Ga-ga Ball Pit

For her Gold Award, Girl Scout Katrina decided to design AND build a Ga-ga ball pit for a park in the Village of Antioch, IL.

Gaga Ball is a fast-paced high energy game played in an octagonal pit, similar to dodgeball, but you need a little more skill. She built the pits in hopes of benefitting the village’s preschool and summer camps. She also hopes it will increase the park’s future usage!

Woof@Wicker

Dog park

Girl Scout Amanda’s Gold Award “Woof@Wicker” consisted of a one-two punch: a campaign to raise funds for new equipment at the Wicker Memorial Dog Park in Highland, IN, and an educational component to teach youth about responsible pet ownership!

Amanda, after welcoming her community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony to introduce the new park equipment, presented her knowledge on pet care to a large group of youth in the area.

The Equestrian Connection

Volunteer — Equestrian Connection

Girl Scout Emma, from Lake Bluff, IL, after seeing the need for the therapy barn at Equestrian Connection to have outdoor activities, combined her passion for horse riding and helping people with special needs.

After researching and planning hands-on sensory activities for therapy riders on horseback, she installed four multi-sensory outdoor games. Equestrian Connection serves riders from more than 70 cities throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and several surrounding states, so her games are sure to add fun and learning for riders for years to come!

Flight from Threatened Livelihood

Girl Scout Nicole, from Palatine, IL, transformed her Gold Award vision into a reality by building a Monarch Waystation to support one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: the annual migration of Monarch butterflies.

The garden she constructed provides the nourishment necessary to help sustain the migration, with 14 different host and nectar plants that also bring benefits to the surrounding preserve. Her project also included an informational booth on the site of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust.

Bike Helmet Safety for Adults & Kids

Girl Scout Jessica, from Oak Park, IL, has always worn a helmet, but when she learned that not everyone in her community has the same habit, she decided to dedicate her Gold Award to spreading awareness about bike safety.

After surveying 169 adults and students in her area, she partnered with a bike shop and two police organizations and attended two local community events, presenting a pledge for everyone to sign.

Going, Going, Gold!

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors who set out to earn the Gold Award take community service to the next level—tackling issues that are dear to them and driving meaningful and lasting change in their communitiesand beyond.

We extend our sincerest congratulations to these girls and all Gold Award Girl Scouts this year! Want to share pictures of your project with us? Post on social media and use the #GCNWIGoldAward! You can also download these images to share your Girl Scout Gold Award pride.

Stay tuned for next week’s 2020 Gold Award Spotlight!

Get Ready for Girl Scouts ❤️ State Parks Weekend!

If you’ve been itching to get outside and explore the great outdoors, this is your chance: join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) for the second annual Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend from Sept. 12 to 13!

Open to all girls and families, join us, and thousands of people from across the nation for a weekend full of wildlife discovery, skill-building, and nature exploration through live webinars, in-person events, and independent activities!

Earn a special patch by participating in the events or using the Girl Scouts Love State Parks passport to download, complete, and track activities from home!

Join us for GCNWI Programs!

Live Animals from the Indiana Dunes | Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m. | Zoom

With Lake Michigan at its northern border and a history of glacial advance and melting, the Indiana Dunes has several diverse habitats that provide homes for many different reptiles and amphibians. All ages are invited to join an Indiana State Park Interpretive Naturalist virtually for this live animal program that showcases some reptiles and amphibians that are specially adapted to survive in the Indiana Dunes State Park!

Registration closes Sept. 5.

Scavenger Hunt at the Indiana Dunes | Sept. 12 – 13 | In-Person

From the beach to the dunes, there are clues to be found! All ages of Girl Scouts are welcome to visit the Indiana Dunes State Park any time over the weekend to comb the sand and land for hints.

Anyone who registers will receive the scavenger hunt ahead of time and can visit the park any time during the weekend. Make sure to visit the Nature Center once you have completed the scavenger hunt to receive your award!

Registration closes Sept. 5register and learn more details on our website.

Map Reading | Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. | Zoom

Are you getting ready to head out on an adventure? Maybe planning a stroll in your neighborhood, a nearby community, or even in a State Park? Make sure you’re prepared by freshening up your map reading skills. Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors, join us as we take a walk down the path of all things map reading.

For this webinar, you’ll need:

  • 4+ pieces of paper
  • 1 pencil
  • coloring utensils (markers/crayons/colored pencils)
  • 1+ map (any type will do – could be a map of your town, a state park, etc.)
  • Zoom access

Register before Sept. 5 to join!

Animal Tracks | Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. | Zoom

Have you ever walked around your neighborhood or hiked through a State Park and noticed animal tracks on the ground? Have you wondered what kinds of animals might have left these tracks? Join us to explore and learn about the local wildlife that may live in a State Park near you.

You’ll need:

  • 3 pieces of paper
  • 1 pencil
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • coloring utensils (markers, crayons, colored pencils)
  • 1 brown or black marker, crayon, or colored pencil
  • Zoom access
  • Optional Supplies: stapler or hole punch and yarn

Register before Sept. 6 to secure your spot!

Girl Scouts Love State Parks 2019

Last year, 84 Girl Scouts and parents attended the Full Moon Hike at the Indiana State Dunes, and as you can see, it was a blast! They set out to hike to the beach where the telescope was located (for some perfect up-close moon action), but just as they set off, thunder sounded. (Fun fact: July’s full moon is named the Thunder Moon!)

What followed was an evening full of quick adaptions: an impromptu snake program to wait out the thunderstorm, and after driving to the beach, an impromptu night-beach program!

It goes to show that Girl Scouts are flexible and ready for anything, especially when it comes to the outdoors!

Planning a hike or adventure?

Share your Girl Scouts Love State Parks experience and planning with us! Tag us at @girlscoutsgcnwi on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
and use the hashtags #GSLOVESPARKS!

Go Cross-Country!

Looking for even MORE Girl Scouts Love State Parks activities?

Join GSUSA and councils across the nation at virtual programs all weekend long! State and national parks from all over the country are providing amazing events for Girl Scouts everywhere.

Visit GSUSA’s website for more information on nationwide programming!

What’s Happening this Fall at Girl Scouts GCNWI!

Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GSGCNWI) is gearing up for another amazing membership year!

So much has changed, and so much is changing, but the fun Girl Scout programming you know and love is here to stay. We have so much to look forward to for girls, troops, volunteers, and families, from new Badge Activity Kits, more virtual and in-person programming, and plenty of opportunities to build skills and make memories, wherever you are.

Most importantly, you are not in this alone! Know that we at GSGCNWI are here for you, whether you’re a new member or a seasoned pro. And don’t forget to renew by August 31 so your troop can be entered to win!

Upcoming Programs

Stay in touch this fall, because we have extra-special virtual AND in-person programming planned for troops, families, and girls! Registration for October programs will open on Tuesday, Sept. 15!

We’re connecting Girl Scouts throughout our council and beyond with our special interest groups, like our Older Girl Hangouts, Astronomy Club (registration coming soon), and Cadette and Junior Book Clubs!

Girl Scouts will also continue to explore our community through service, take a trip to another country through virtual travel, and change the world through a series of Journey workshops.

Get ready for our larger programs we’re hosting this fall, including the Parking Lot Art Showcase on Oct. 3, a Trunk and Treat on Oct. 17, and a Girl Scout Photo Scavenger Hunt during October.

And of course, we have programs just for fun! Find out more on our Programs site and stay updated with our Virtual Events Calendar!

Girl Scouts ❤️ State Parks!

Join Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) for the second annual Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend from Sept. 12 to 13!

Open to all girls and families, join us and thousands of people from across the nation for a weekend full of wildlife discovery, skill-building, and nature exploration through live webinars, in-person events, and independent activities!

Register for GCNWI events on our programs site and find national programs on the GSUSA website!

Troop Support and More

Troop leaders, you have stepped up in a major way this year, and we are stepping up, too. We’re hosting monthly Girl Scout Leader Chats to assist you in making peer to peer connections surrounding topics that are important to you, and helping new troop leaders with start-up planning and support, including meeting plans, icebreakers, games, and more!

We have plenty of resources to help support and increase family engagement, including our Family Connections guide, Keep Girl Scouts Going guide, and Family Meeting Templates, as well as our Leader 411 email series. Plus, look out for more information about Fall Product and more in the coming weeks!

Our Troop Advisor roles and peer-to-peer network have expanded to provide you more support than ever, on and offscreen. Find additional online resources and training in the GSGCNWI Learning Portal. Meeting plans have been updated and continue to be added through September!

Fall Product Program is Coming!

Our Fall Product Program is about to start! From Oct. 1 to 21, don’t miss out on your chance to participate and earn awesome rewards AND a personalized patch with YOUR name and avatar on it!

Watch your inbox for more information to be released soon!

Visit the GSGCNWI Online Shop!

Head’s up: curbside pick-up will be available in mid-September at all shop locations except our Chicago Gathering Place! In the meantime, make sure to pop on over to our online shop, where we’ve got brand-new Girl Scout badge requirements, merchandise, and more!

Our 24 brand-new badges now have downloadable badge requirements available on the shop site! Badge activity kits are also coming soon.

New customized troop t-shirts and sweatshirts are available, as well as pre-assembled uniforms including the flag, council ID, troop crest and numbers! And don’t forget to celebrate your troop leader or someone special with our new Happy Birthday and Leader Thank You gift sets.

Celebrate your Resilience and Ambition

Join us on Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., for Smart Cookies: Stand for More to celebrate the resilience, flexibility, and strength of Girl Scouts and our supporters.

Hosted by the Girl Scouts GCNWI Associate Board, this will be a virtual celebration, and call to action for all of us to stand up and support this and the next generation of change-making girls.

Admission is free! Register today.

Support the mission today by purchasing a Smart Cookies Enhancement Package. Raffle and auction items coming soon!

Renew by August 31 and Your Troop Could Win!

Continue blazing trails with us! Troops who have 90% of their girls renewed by August 31 are eligible to receive a free Zoom account and more goodies, including a $200 Amazon gift card. Eligibility is automatic once 90% of the girls are renewed, and is available for all troops who renewed before August 31.

Learn more and renew on our website!

Girls, renew your membership today!

Managing a Multi-Level Girl Scout Troop Virtually: Tips from a Troop Leader

Shift the Lens on Girl Scout Volunteering: Part 2

This photo was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The possibilities are endless with the way girls and their leaders are staying connected through Girl Scouts. Maintaining routines is important to a girl’s development, and this troop leader has shifted the lens on the way she engages with her girls, proving a pandemic doesn’t have to stop them from receiving a true Girl Scout experience!

Superstar volunteer Annette manages a diverse, multi-level troop of girls ranging from Brownies to Cadettes (grades 2-8). Her troop meets weekly to focus on badge work and their Silver and Bronze Awards.

“I chose not to stop because the girls need us. They are here for a reason. They need Girl Scouts not only socially, but emotionally. I didn’t want to give up on them,” Annette recalls on her reason to make the shift from in-person to virtual volunteering.

Since sheltering in place, Annette and her troop have focused on simply having fun and doing things to take their minds off what was going on around them. They did fun badge activities, played trivia games, and even dedicated some meetings to just have girl talk.

It’s that simple.

Annette shares her tips on how to manage a virtual troop:

Try to make things as simple as possible for your families

“When my troop did badge work, I would send a care package to each girl with all of the materials needed to complete the requirement. Even if a girl couldn’t participate in that particular meeting, she could still do it on her own and show me the proof to receive her badge.”

Have the girls lead meetings

“In our troop, if a girl knows how to complete a journey or badge, she will teach it to the rest of the girls so that everybody has the new skill.”

Try not to stress

“It’s OK not to have an agenda or to wing it. Sometimes you’ll have an activity planned and the girls just want to chat and vent and see their friends. The girls will not be mad if you mess up or have a bad week.”

Stay connected

“Check out what GSUSA, and other councils are doing to engage their girls. There are a ton of resources out there!”

Make it fun!

“Always remember, the girls having fun is just as important as them doing badge work,” says Annette.

Don’t give up on your girls! Renew your troop today.

One Week Left! Renew Your Troop by August 31 for a Chance to Win!

Only one week left to take advantage of our new promotion to help you get ready for a knockout new year!

Renew at least 90% of the girls in your troop by August 31 and your troop will receive:

  • A free Zoom account for your troop
  • A $20 gift certificate for the Girl Scouts GCNWI online shop
  • TWO entries into a drawing for a $200 Amazon gift card (10 prizes available)!

Renew at least 75% of your troop by August 31 and your troop will be entered into a drawing to receive a $200 Amazon gift card (10 prizes available)!

It’s easy to renew your whole Girl Scout troop at one time, and a great way to use troop funds—by powering another year of amazing experiences! Follow these step-by-step instructions to renew your troop.

Related links

We’ve got more than a few things to look forward to as we enter the new year.

New virtual meeting plans are uploaded to the Volunteer Toolkit and resources added to the Learning Portal

Read our newly expanded guideline for in-person meetings.

AND we’re working hard on programs for the fall, both virtual AND outdoor! Continue to check our website page for updates.

Member Monday Catch Up!

Girl Scout Anne posing with local firefighters (from the Chicago Tribune)

Welcome back to Member Monday, our weekly blog post where we feature the projects, service, and work of our amazing local Girl Scouts! It’s true: Girl Scouts lead the way when it comes to community service, creativity, and problem-solving, and Girl Scouts from Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (GCNWI) are no exception!

Continue reading to learn all about the different ways GCNWI girls have stepped up for their communities this summer.

Girl Scouts Get Stuff Done!

Girl Scout Anne posing with local firefighters (from the Chicago Tribune)

Girl Scouts are impressive young leaders with keen eyes for ways to help others, and Girl Scout Anne from Monee, IL, is a great example! She recently got a big shout-out from the Chicago Tribune for her many different service projects, including her donation drive of almost 2,000 Girl Scout cookies to first responders in her community.

Read the article to learn more about Anne and her efforts to support local first responders and essential workers!

Another group of kind and considerate Girl Scouts from our council recently shared their service project from all the way back in January (pre-social-distancing), where they made no-sew blankets for the Dupage County Animal Care and Control center! Great job to troop 55775!

The recent reopening of the USO lounge at O’Hare Airport lead these Girl Scouts to donate 253 boxes of Girl Scout cookies! The girls made sure each box came with a supportive message for active duty and retired military service members, a great way to spread kindness (and delicious treats).

Looking for some fitness motivation? Girl Scout Makayla recently completed the Get Moving Journey, and shared her final video project– check it out above!

Lastly, we’d like to shout-out the Girl Scouts from Service Unit 596, who completed 16 snuffle mats for enrichment for the cats and dogs at Hinsdale Humane Society!

As you can tell, GCNWI Girl Scouts have certainly kept the at-home fun going throughout the summer, and we have been LOVING seeing all of your stories and projects! Keep sharing with us: tag us on social media (@GirlScoutsGCNWI) or submit on our website.

Renew Your Troop by August 31 for a Chance to Win!

Let’s get ready for an unforgettable Girl Scout year! Renew at least 90% of the girls in your troop by August 31 and your troop will receive:

  • A free Zoom account for your troop
  • A $20 gift certificate for the Girl Scouts GCNWI online shop
  • TWO entries into a drawing for a $200 Amazon gift card (10 prizes available)!

Renew your troop today.